There are two main species of pest wasps species in the UK: the Common Wasp [Vespula vulgaris] and the German Wasp [Vespula germanica]. Both species are similar to look at; approx 10-20mm in length with distinctive bright yellow and black banding and are capable of delivering a nasty sting.

Reactions to stings can be severe and even fatal in some individuals. Workers feed primarily on protein (other insects) which is required for feeding larvae but in late summer the diet switches to more sugar-based foods.

In late July and August wasps are particular pests at pubs, cafes, food manufacturing plants as a result. The Queen is responsible for egg laying, emerging from hibernation in mid April to construct a small nest of 20-30 egg chambers. As the population builds sterile workers take over the responsibilities of acquiring food and building/maintaining the nest.

By late summer the population of the nest can have reached anything from 3000 to 30000 wasps. New queens emerge in late summer once the Queen has died before flying off to find suitable locations to over-winter.

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